Better Angels

From Wind Repertory Project
William Harbinson

William Harbinson

General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 6:35
Difficulty: III-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $70.00; (digital) - $70.00   |   Score Only (print) - $12.50


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Maracas
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tom-toms
  • Triangle
  • Whip
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The "better angels of our nature" quote from Lincoln's First Inaugural perfectly fits the meaning behind this expressive music. Powerful in impact and message, the profound sounds and colorful scoring represent the better nature everyone has within them. It presents a positive and uplifting spirit that everyone will find inspiring and moving.

- Program Note from publisher

Commissioned by the Raleigh Concert Band (Raleigh, N.C.) Len Bruce Hardy II, conductor, in celebration of their 40th anniversary (2018).

- Program Note from score

The title of this inspiring composition is drawn from Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address in 1861, "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

A brisk fanfare with changing meters is followed by a soft passage that builds to a powerful full ensemble statement before introducing a noble melody stated first by solo trumpet. Although scored at a softer dynamic level, this section conveys a sense of determination with driving rhythms in the supporting material and percussion. The mood then becomes calm and reflective with a freely scored passage for solo flute. Other instruments soon appear as the piece moves through a variety of textures with brief solos for alto saxophone and horn. The brisk tempo returns in a spirited final section that includes brief percussion breaks, effective contrasts of style and dynamics, and a dramatic conclusion.

- Program Note from The Instrumentalist


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Peninsula Symphonic Band (Palo Alto, Calif.) (Jason R. Palmer, conductor) – 21 November 2021
  • Westminster College (New Wilmington, Penn.) Symphonic Band (R. Tad Greig, conductor) - 30 April 2021

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • "New Music Reviews." The Instrumentalist, 75.3 (Dec. 2020/Jan. 2021): 34-35. Print.
  • Perusal score